Had I known I was going to be writing stories about her paintings, I would have taken notes when Grandma told me about her works.
This seascape hangs in my living room above my couch, and I see it whenever I look up from my computer. What I know about this painting, is that it is from the coast of Maine, and it is a copy. Grandma copied another artist’s seascape (I don’t know who that artist was, except that it was a man), and that’s how the painting is signed (barely visible at bottom left): Marion Mundal, copy. I remember when I was younger that that amused me. It made me think of my grandma as a copy.
I have always loved this painting. I think it was painted well before I was born because I can’t remember this seascape not hanging on Grandma’s wall. This painting has so many things about it that keep me fascinated: The movement of the water, the spray of the waves, the contrast between the dark rock and the moonlit sea, the moonlight itself coming from an off-canvas moon, the energy in the water that makes me forget the sky is absolutely calm and the horizon far away absolutely flat. I always think of storms when I look at the crashing waves, but it is actually a peaceful painting.
In one sense, it describes the artist herself very well: Grandma always had drive and energy, though her personality was that of a calm and easy-going person. Very much like a calm sea with some powerful tides.
When I asked Grandma if I could take the seascape home with me, she said only if I returned it.
I thought I was going to be able to.
I’ll introduce you to its frame-maker next time I tell you about my gallery.